Last Updated on April 10, 2021 by asoulwindow
Hoolock Gibbons Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary Assam
The Siamang found in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are the largest Gibbons. Hoolock Gibbons come next. Hoolock Gibbons are the second largest of all the Gibbons found worldwide. They are monogamous in nature and unlike other monkeys and apes, the Hoolock Gibbons prefer to spend on their time on the tip of the tallest branch of tree.
In India Hoolock Gibbon is found in Assam and other states of North East India. It is believed that the Assamese word holou gave them the name of Hoolock Gibbons. It is one of the rare Hoolock gibbon species in India. Some people also refer to them as Hoolock monkey.
Did you know you can spot Hoolock Gibbon in India? The Hoolock Gibbons are conserved in a protected wildlife sanctuary called Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary near Jorhat in Assam. This blog is based upon my visit to the same. The other wildlife destinations I have visited in North East India are the more famous Kaziranga National Park known for one horned Rhinoceros and Manas National Park, close to the border between Bhutan and India.
You should also know that Hoolock Gibbons are apes or primates and not monkeys. They are classified as lesser apes due to their size which is smaller than greater apes such as the Mountain Gorillas which I saw in Uganda in Africa, humans, bonobos, Orangutans and Chimpanzees.
About Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
Formerly known as Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary or Hoollongapar Reserve Forest, the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is an offbeat wildlife destination to visit in Assam, one of the states of the lovely North East India. This unique wildlife sanctuary was rechristened in the year 1997. This is one of the best places to visit while in Assam.
What is Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary famous for
If you are wondering if Hoolock Gibbon is found in which national park, well here is your answer. Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is famous because it is the protected home to the endangered Hoolock Gibbons which are the only apes found in India. Hoolock Gibbon being endangered species are protected here. This is a natural Hoolock Gibbon habitat.
The wildlife sanctuary has the highest density of Hoolock Gibbons which make it easy for wildlife enthusiasts like me to spot them. It is also home to the rare and elusive Bengal Slow Loris. There are so many reasons Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for!
Where is Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary located?
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Mariani range near Jorhat district of Assam. This is why Hoolock Gibbons are sometimes also known as Mariani Gibbon. Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is situated on the border of Nagaland and Assam in Northeastern India. The Hollongapar reserve forest serves as a natural habitat for Hoolock Gibbons.
It falls within the Jorhat district of Assam and can be reached easily. Many years ago the forested area used to extend as far as the foothills of the Patkai range of mountains. Over time, due to human activity, it got separated from the foothills of Patkai mountains. Do visit Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary Assam.
Wildlife Conservation in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
Hoolock Gibbon is endangered species. Thus it becomes important to conserve them for posterity. The degradation of the habitat quality of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary started with the human interference over the years. The Habitat Loss of Gibbons is a serious concern.
Despite the constant growing threat of land encroachment by humans, railway lines, habitat fragmentation and illegal logging, the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary has successfully conserved the wild animals and primate species such as Hoolock Gibbons and others. Typical of eastern India, The tea gardens that surround the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, though pretty, are a threat to the wildlife conservation here. Hoolock Gibbon conservation thus becomes the need of the hour.
The garden workers forage the forest for medicines, firewood and even food. They also depend on the leaves and grass from the forest for fodder to cattle. Also the pesticides and herbicides which are used in the tea gardens find its way into the protected forest area during heavy rains in monsoon months.
The tea gardens around the Hollongapar Gibbon sanctuary also obstruct the migrating routes of wildlife such as Wild Elephants. The wild elephants use this route to migrate from Assam to Nagaland. This makes the elephants an easy target for poachers as well.
Despite being a protected area it is now a fragmented forest due to such factors. Currently there are five segments in this fragmented wildlife sanctuary.
Hoolock Gibbon Species
There are many more Gibbon species found across Asia. Hoolock tianxing was the recently discovered Hoolock Gibbons in South West China in 2017. Around 200 of these species were discovered.
The Eastern Hoolock Gibbon is found in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in North East India and also in China and Myanmar. The western Hoolock Gibbon is found towards the west direction. The main Hoolock Gibbon Species with their respective scientific names are listed as below:
- Western hoolock gibbon, Hoolock hoolock
- Eastern hoolock gibbon, Hoolock leuconedys
- Skywalker hoolock gibbon, Hoolock tianxing
Facts About Hoolock Gibbons
Visiting Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary piques my curiosity about the only ape found in India. Thus, these animals are unique to India. I would like to share with you what I learned. Below are some interesting facts about the elusive Hoolock Gibbons. Do let me know in comment section if you want to add any other Hoolock Gibbon facts:
Natural Habitat of Hollock Gibbons
The Hoolock Gibbons are found in Asian countries such as South West China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and North East India. In North East India, Hoolock Gibbons are found in wild in states such as Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. In Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary near Jorhat in Assam, they are conserved and protected for posterity. Hoolock Gibbons can be spotted near the mighty Brahmaputra river and Dibang river.
Is the Hoolock Gibbon a herbivore? Well, I saw the Hoolock Gibbons munching on the leaves of the trees they were sitting on. The Gibbons also feed on small insects and fruits.
The Hoolock Gibbons live upto 25 years in wild.
I found the appearance of Hoolock Gibbons very unique and unlike any other monkeys and apes. The male and female Hoolock Gibbons look totally different from each other. It looks like they are wearing a quirky mask, thanks to the white rings surrounding their mouth and eyes. Though differing in their physical appearance, the adult male and female Hoolock Gibbons are of same size.
The infant Gibbon that I saw was black in color while the mother or the female were grayish brown in color. The neck and chest of the females have darker hues of the same. The males adults are also black in color with white brows.
Hoolock Gibbon’s behavior is usually very similar to other monkeys and apes. The Gibbons are arboreal, that is they prefer to spend their lives on trees. Gibbons are also diurnal which means that they are most active during the day time. The general speed of Hoolock Gibbons is 55 kilometers per hour.
As is the case with other monkeys and apes, the Hoolock Gibbons also navigate their way through the trees by brachiating or jumping. The long and sturdy arms of Gibbons help them in this. They can swing up to a whooping 6 meters at one go.
The gestation period of Hoolock Gibbons are 7 months. It takes around 9 years for Hoolock Gibbons to mature fully. The color pattern for male keeps changing from a milky white appearance during birth to stark black as they grow. The females however remain the same in color from birth to adulthood. I saw both offspring and adult Gibbons in Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
Unique calls of Hukku Bandar
The unique calls made by Hoolock Gibbons are much talked about and people find it entertaining. The sound Gibbons make is very popular with kids and adults alike. I remember we used to call them Hukku Bandar in childhood and some annoying people used to encourage them to make calls in zoos. I do not visit or support zoos now as I find them nothing but slavery of wild animals. Hoolock monkey are very mischievous and active at times. The ones I saw at the Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary were relaxed though.
What is entertaining to people is Hoolock Gibbon’s way of chasing off other Gibbon groups out of their territories. At other times, the calls are made by Hoolock Gibbons in order to find the other members of their family. The calls can also be made by the Hoolock Gibbons when they face any threat. Hope you enjoyed reading these Hoolock Gibbon facts.
Entry in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary Assam
When I approached the entrance of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, the local guard asked me to pay entrance fee and guide fee which I did. He handed me over receipt and we started our ‘Gibbon Safari’ on foot. Unlike other National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of India, vehicles are not allowed inside Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. You can explore the Gibbon forest only on foot. It is thus mandatory to enter the forest with an authorized guide.
The first Gibbons we saw were hanging on a tall branch outside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary near the railway tracks. It was a female and her offspring. As is their common behavior, they sat on the tip of the tallest branch, eating something and occasionally making calls. I was not able to see them clearly but the zoom lens of my camera did help to see details.
I also saw a giant squirrel flitting restlessly from one branch to another outside the Hollongapar Gibbon sanctuary near railway tracks. It was a Malayan Giant Squirrel or Giant Black Squirrel. I spotted some in Manas National Park of Assam as well. It was a bonus sighting in Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary. The Guide was so enthusiastic that he kept shouting ‘Thoko, Thoko’ at me in his Assamese Hindi mix language. Thoko apparently meant Click the animal.
A walk inside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
The guide then asked me to accompany him on a foot safari inside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. I was the only tourist or wildlife enthusiast present during my visit to the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. I was impressed to see the dense Gibbon forest. As we moved deeper in the forest, negotiating the undergrowth, I was disconnected with the civilization as we know it. The only sound I hear was that of the guide, our movement on dry leaves and occasional animal calls.
The sunlight was blocked by dense foliage at most places inside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. That said, the visibility was still good with clear sunny patches punctuating the pathway. As we walked through the dirt tracks, we kept our eyes peeled for Hoolock Gibbons and other species of monkeys which live here. Hoolock Gibbons are endangered species which makes them special. If you want a guaranteed sighting of Hoolock Gibbon in India, then you should visit this place.
Spotting Hoolock Gibbons in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
After my beginners luck of spotting the mother child Hoollock Gibbon outside the Sanctuary, we had a hard time locating the Gibbons inside the sanctuary. After few minutes of calm efforts by the guide, he excitedly pointed towards a tall tree where more Hoollock Gibbons perched merrily on a branch.
The guide identified the location by their calls. Predictably, this Gibbon ape family also preferred to call the tallest branch their home, making it difficult to spot and take photographs of them. It was thrilling to spot the Hoolock Gibbon which is also red list endangered species. The best part was that I saw Hoolock Gibbon in their natural habitat. In fact the Gibbon forest was teeming with so many unique life forms.
Fauna at Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
This is the best place to see Hoolock Gibbon in India. Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is famous for being home to the endangered western Hoolock Gibbon monkey and the elusive Bengal Slow Loris aka Northern Slow Loris. It is the only nocturnal primate found in Northeast India. Scientific name of Bengal Slow Loris is Nycticebus bengalensis.
My guide showed me some other species of mammal as well. Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary provides safe haven to other animals also such as 4 types of big and small squirrels, stump tailed macaques, capped Langur, Eastern Assamese Monkey, Northern Pig Tailed macaques, Rhesus macaques, 3 types of civet cats, wild boars, jungle cats, leopards, wild elephants, tigers and many more.
219 different species of birds and reptiles such as snakes are also found in the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. The rich biodiversity of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary despite being small in size makes it stand out. Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary Assam is one of its kind!
Fauna of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
As I was walking in the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in search of a better view of Hoolock Gibbons, the guide educated me about the different species of trees and shrubs we were passing through. I could see that the wildlife sanctuary also protected many species of trees, plants, shrubs and herbs. The evergreen jungle of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is segmented into many layers of canopies. Let us have a look at the 3 different types of canopies that exist here:
Upper canopy – The dominant tree in upper canopy of Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary is Dipterocarpus macrocarpus. This very tall tree, which has straight trunk, can measure between 39 to 98 feet. Other trees found in upper canopy of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary include Bhelu, Amari, Hingori, Sam, Udal and Sopas etc.
Middle canopy – The middle canopy of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is dominated by nahar tree aka Mesua ferrea. Thanks to its sprawling crown, it provides shade and shelter to the Hoolock Gibbon monkey and other animals and birds. The other species of trees of Middle canopy include Otenga, Bonbogri, Bhomora, Sassi, Bandordima, Selleng, Dhuna, Morhal and Ful Gomari etc.
Lower canopy – The lower canopy of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary include small evergreen shrubs, undergrowths and herbs etc. Some off the species found in ground layers include Houka Bet, Sorat, Dolu bamboo, Kaupat, Bojal bamboo, Jati Bet, Tora, Jengu etc.
Tea Estate of Assam
You can explore the famous tea estates of Assam, which are located right outside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. The guide can take you on a tour or you can walk in the tea estates all by yourself. I myself exited from the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary after spending some time in the home of the Guide on his invitation. After a round of chai and snacks, I explored the tea estates and interacted with the locals, observed their every day life and learned about their challenges.
Apart from exploring the Gibbon forest, you can try other activities as well. The area around Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is apt for cycling. The Guide can help you arrange the cycle. You can explore the tea estates or the nearby authentic local villages on cycle. The weather in winter months is the best for indulging in outdoor activities such as cycling.
The guide told me that sometimes Leeches can climb on you while walking through the Gibbon forest. In my case, I did not find any leeches, but it is a good idea to come prepared to handle them. The leeches are more common in monsoon months. Do wear long socks to prevent them sticking to your legs.
The Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is safe for solo travelers.
What to wear in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
Since you will be walking inside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, I suggest you should wear good quality socks and shoes to protect you from the dense undergrowth, leeches and dirt. Wearing full sleeve shirts is better but half sleeved shirts work just as well.
What to carry in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
These are the things you should carry for sure when visiting Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary:
- Water Bottle since there are not many shops nearby
- Carry some snacks as there are no restaurants nearby.
- A day pack to keep the above.
- A Zoom Lens since the Hollock Gibbons are always sitting on the top branch in far distance.
- A Binocular, in case you want a clear view of Hollock Gibbons.
- Leech socks
Vegan and Vegetarian Food Guide
There are no restaurants around the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. The nearest good restaurants are located in Jorhat. Having said that, you can find some small makeshift shops right outside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary but do not expect proper meals.
I had my breakfast of fruits and lunch in Jorhat only. You can easily find vegan and vegetarian food such as Ghughni Roti, North Indian, chats and Golgappas, Chinese dishes, South Indian food and local Assamese delicacies such as Pitha, pitika (mashed potatoes, mashed brinjals etc) with rice, daal and salad etc.
Best Time To Visit Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
The best time to visit Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is between October to March. Early morning is when you have higher chances of spotting wildlife.
Best time of the day to visit Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
It is advised to visit Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary during the early morning as I did. During early mornings, the Hoolock Gibbons are most active and thus spotted easily. This is the time when the Hoolock Gibbon and other monkeys venture out in search of food. As the day progresses the Gibbons prefer to hide and sleep. So you should leave from Jorhat (if staying there), early morning in order to arrive at Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in time to spot the Gibbons.
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary timings
The Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is open from sunrise to sunset. Early morning is the best time to visit. Do visit the Hoolock Gibbon sanctuary for a unique experience.
Where to stay in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
Hoolock Heritage Jorhat
The Hoolock Heritage Jorhat is a tea tourism resort located in the Bahani Tea Estate at the foothills of the Naga Patkai Mountain ranges. You can choose to stay in the aesthetic Naga Chang Houses
Prices range between INR 1800 to INR 2200 per night.
You can also stay at the century old wooden Chang Bungalow for INR 3,500 per night. There are 2 executive rooms in Director’s Bungalow. It is one of the best luxury accommodation in this region.
Extra Bed charges are INR 500.
Check In: 11 a.m.
Check Out: 10 a.m. You can sample the traditional vegetarian Assamese Thali here as well.
Contact Details for Booking: 9365498224, 9864710092, 7002955072.
Gibbon Eco Camp
After the ‘foot safari’ in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, the Guide invited me to his home over tea and snacks. After this, he took me to his nearby home-stay called Gibbon Eco Camp. It is made typically of bamboo. I saw similar huts in places like Majuli in Assam, Longwa in Nagaland and many places in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, all located in North East India.
Home stays are really cheap in North East India. The tariff for a double room in Gibbon Eco Camp was just INR 400 per day which is same as what I observed in nearby Majuli, the river island near Jorhat. Gibbon Eco Camp aims at promoting eco friendly sustainable tourism and encourages you to ‘discover organic wilderness’ It has a total of only 4 rooms. Each room has clean bed and bedside tables. Free private parking is also available. It has Budget twin room, Budget Double Room, family room and 6 bed mixed Dormitory room. There is a small garden area in the property too.
You can also stay in the Forest Rest House within the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. I had arrived late night in Jorhat from Dibrugarh, so I stayed in a random hotel in Jorhat itself for INR 400 a day. Had I known about the home stay in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, I would have preferred to stay here. This 100% eco friendly and budget accommodation is located right outside the sanctuary and faces the tea estates. What’s not to love?
Contact details are as below:
- Jayanta – 9854054123
- Pinak – 9435228462
Address: Gibbon Eco Camp, Mariani, near Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
Entry Fees of Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
Entry Fees to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is INR 250 per person
DSLR camera fees – INR 500 per camera
How to reach Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary Assam
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Jorhat district of Assam in North East India. It is located close of many interesting places to see in Nagaland, Assam etc. You can club many places and plan a longer trip and explore some of the best offbeat places of India.
I arrived at Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in Assam from a nearby bustling town Jorhat in shared autorickshaw. I was not sure if I would be able to explain to autorickshaw driver to drop me at Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary as not many people go there, including the locals.
Luckily, he understood and dropped me near a sprawling tea estate from where I walked my way to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. I came across a railway track. After crossing it, I finally arrived at the guarded entrance of the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. You can also book a private taxi from Jorhat to arrive at Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.
What are the good tourist places in Jorhat? Well, it is a good idea to club nearby tourist attractions of Assam and Jorhat specifically such as Majuli river island and Sivasagar. In fact, I moved to Majuli after my visit to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. This is why you should visit Assam. Below distance chart will help you plan your trip in this part of North East India.
Distance between Jorhat to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is 21 kilometers and it takes around 41 minutes via the Gar Ali Road or Jorhat Mariani Road. It is very easy to cover the Jorhat to Gibbon National Park distance via private taxi or shared autorickshaw. The distances mentioned are in ascending order. It will give you a fair idea of places around the Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
Distance between Jorhat to Majuli river island is 45 kilometers and it takes around 2 hours via the Kamalibari-Nimati Ferry Service. Cheap shared cabs are easily available on this route.
Distance between Jorhat to Sivasagar is 61 kilometers and it takes around 2 hours via the AT road.
Distance between Jorhat to Dimapur is 124 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 35 minutes via NH129. I took a bus from Jorhat to Kohima for Hornbill Festival via Dimapur.
Distance between Jorhat to Dibrugarh is 141 kilometers and it takes around 4 hours via the NH2. I took a late night bus from Dibrugarh Railway Station to Jorhat. The bus passed through Rang Ghar in Sivasagar.
Distance between Jorhat to Mon in Nagaland is 144 kilometers and it takes around 5 hours via the NH702 and Dhodar Ali Road.
Distance between Jorhat to Longwa in Nagaland is 178 kilometers and it takes around 7 hours via the NH702 and Dhodar Ali Road.
Distance between Jorhat to Guwahati is 311 kilometers and it takes around 7 hours via the NH27 and NH715.
Budget Solo Travel Tips
I travelled solo to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary on a very tight backpacking budget. I was on a 3 month long epic budget trip to North East India and my trip to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary was the cheapest. In fact, this was one of my cheapest trips anywhere ever. The only money I spent on was shared auto rickshaw from and to Jorhat which was negligible and the Entrance Fees and Guide Fees to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary which was also very less.
If you are still itching to spend more, you can of course book a private taxi to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary from Jorhat or better still stay at any bamboo home-stay near the tea estates which surrounds the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. This is the maximum you will need to spend here.
Conclusion on Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary
I have been to many National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India. However, my visit to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary was most unique. It was for the first time I was walking inside a wildlife sanctuary apart from my trek inside the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra in West India. Never before had I seen an ape in India.
If you want to see Hoolock Gibbon in India, then this is the place. Hoolock Gibbons, after all, are the only apes found in India and they are concentrated in the North East India region. Do visit to see the Hoolock gibbon species in India in their natural habitat.
Despite being very small in size, I saw some very unique species in Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary within a span of few hours. Surrounded by the famous tea estates of Assam and tall dense trees, you can also spot wildlife outside the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. Proximity to Jorhat, an important town in Assam, makes it easy to reach Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary.
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